“What I have seen is that peace works better than conflict, and one of the best manifestations of it is in travel and tourism,” – Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton was in Abu Dhabi yesterday to speak at the World Travel and Tourism Council summit. Alex Francis with Cheapflight travel blog says, “Bill Clinton has said that tourism can be a force for good in the world, and has the power to bring peace and change things for the better.”
I personally have seen the truth of this in my work with the Au Pair Exchange Program. Most people don’t realize that the Au Pair Program was established by the U.S. Department of State to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. From their website: “Through the Au Pair program, participants and host families take part in a mutually rewarding, intercultural opportunity. Participants can continue their education while experiencing everyday life with an American family, and hosts receive reliable and responsible childcare from individuals who become part of the family.”
Through my work with Au Pair International I have had the opportunity to have women from Japan, Paraguay, Thailand, Germany, China and Moldova come and stay with me and my family. It has been an amazing experience for my children to learn about these beautiful countries and their rich cultures. It has instilled in us a desire to see the world and meet different people.
The au pairs also have the opportunity to learn so much. Many come to the U.S. only knowing what they see in the movies. They have the unique experience of staying with a family and participating with them like a member of the family. They come away from this experience having strengthened their English, broadened their global understanding and gained a personal confidence in their own abilities and worth. Many go on to do amazing things.
So I encourage you to take the opportunity to travel and really experience a different culture and people. Don’t be afraid to really get to know the people and places you visit. Share with your children the value of each culture, language and people. By doing so, you will be helping to promote worldwide peace and understanding.
Lisa Kempton is the Director of Domestic Programs with Au Pair International. She has been helping families and au pairs in the Au Pair Exchange Program for 5 years. You can follow her on twitter.